Human papillomavirus DNA in fomites on objects used for the management of patients with genital human papillomavirus infections

Obstet Gynecol. 1989 Dec;74(6):950-4.


We investigated the possibility that human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA could be present on objects that are used for the management of patients with genital HPV infections. Human papillomavirus DNA was identified by filter hybridization in swabs taken from eight of 16 (50%) of surgical gloves. Similarly, HPV DNA was found in 23 of 62 (37%) and one of 62 (1.6%) of biopsy forceps before and after sterilization in 30% tincture of Savlon for 30 minutes, respectively. Five of 22 (23%) and one of 22 (4.5%) of cryoprobe tips tested positive for HPV DNA before and after cleaning with 90% ethanol solution for 1 minute, respectively. The rate of HPV DNA positivity after sterilization is low. Whether HPV on fomites is infectious was not evaluated in this study. Washing and soaking them in detergents containing 2% glutaraldehyde or heating them to 100C or higher should be adequate. Use of separate gloves for manual examination of the external and internal anogenital tract is advisable.

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Condylomata Acuminata / microbiology
  • Cryosurgery
  • DNA, Viral / analysis*
  • Equipment Contamination
  • Female
  • Gloves, Surgical*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Papillomaviridae / genetics*
  • Surgical Instruments*
  • Tumor Virus Infections / transmission


  • DNA, Viral